Upgrading the Graphics System Controller firmware on a graphics card is not one thing you will do fairly often, however in the event you personal the not-impossible mixture of an Intel Arc graphics card and an AMD CPU, you won’t be capable to do it in any respect. That is in keeping with the developer (opens in new tab) of a firmware replace plugin (opens in new tab) for Linux, as reported by Phoronix (opens in new tab).
The issue revolves across the Intel Administration Engine (opens in new tab) (which, for some purpose, takes the initialism MEI). This functionality has been a part of the platform controller hub in virtually each Intel chipset since 2008. Consequently, MEI is at all times working whereas the motherboard receives energy, whether or not or not the PC is switched on (AMD has had an equal since 2013, the Platform Safety Processor).
The MEI’s actual workings are largely undocumented, its code inside the firmware obscured, and it makes use of its personal microprocessor (typically an Intel Quark). It even has a UNIX-like working system with entry to reminiscence, networking and shows. So this pc inside a pc undoubtedly does one thing, but it surely’s unclear exactly what, and Intel is not saying.
One factor it could do is replace graphics card firmware, and Intel has taken benefit of this functionality for its new line of Arc discrete GPU boards. Nevertheless, this causes an issue for anybody utilizing one other vendor’s merchandise or methods so previous that they do not help MEI.
The difficulty was found as coders tried to acquire an open-source Linux driver for the Arc boards to work on IBM’s POWER structure. Intel’s graphics drivers did not must help non-x86 processors earlier than the launch of Arc, and now that they do, the likes of Arm and RISC-V ought to be capable to use the boards. It isn’t excellent, however work is progressing.
There at the moment would not look like a manner round the issue with out Intel altering how the GSK firmware is delivered. Fortunately, these sorts of firmware updates are uncommon however can add new options, akin to final yr’s replace (opens in new tab) that added the resizable BAR performance to Nvidia’s RTX 30-series playing cards.